Historically, Asian regions had lower rates of obesity and overweight than US or Europe, however, with the high rates of economic growth, this is rapidly changing.
Speaking at our Probiota Asia event in Singapore, Dr Gregory Lambert, the firm’s CEO and VP of R&D, said: “Asians tend to have higher amounts of abdominal fat at lower BMIs and are more likely to develop central obesity, which is associated with higher risk of developing dyslipidaemia, impaired glucose tolerance, type 2 diabetes mellitus and CVD, as well as more adverse cardiovascular outcomes.”
He said current obesity prevalence range from 10% in Vietnam to 46% in Malaysia, citing a huge obesity challenge in Asia.
Mechanism of action
A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled study is currently being carried out to investigate the firm’s probiotic based on the Hafnia alvei strain to regulate appetite and weight management.
Lambert said it is the only probiotic with a validated molecular level mechanism of action, and it works through molecular mimicking.
“ClpB is found to mimic the satiety hormone that regulate appetite in the central nervous system. The effect is the feeling of satiety or fullness after a meal,” he said.
ClpB is naturally present in rat plasma, and also in humans with eating disorders. Obese people have less ClpB in their faeces than lean and overweight subjects.
In a mouse model, two groups of mice, obese mice and mice fed a high fat diet were given H. alvei.
The obese group, fed with H. alvei had lower food intake than control, leading to lower body weight gain.
The high fat group, fed with H. alvei had no significant impact on food intake, but had lower body weight gain after 46 days.
Furthermore, a combination of mice that were obese, with high fat and high sucrose diet was fed with either H. alvei or Orlistat (drug to prevent fat absorption).
H. alvei was found to reduce food intake and glycemia while Orlistat increased it.
Although, orlistat achived a lower body weight than H alvei, he said the control of appetite was key to achieving sustainable weight and metabolic disease management in the long term.
Ongoing clinical trial
In the ongoing study in Germany, 240 subjects (BMI: 25 – 29.9 kg/m2) were recruited and tasked to consume a dosage of 1.1011 cells/day of H. alvei, over 12 weeks.
Participants were told to consume two capsules daily, one at breakfast, one at lunch.
“There is enough protein in the breakfast capsule to cause satiety to last through lunch, and the capsule at lunch can last through to dinner, that’s assuming you don’t eat much at night,” Lambert explained.
Measurements in body weight, body fat, waist and hip circumference, lipid metabolism parameters, glucose blood parameters, and satiety feeling will be collected to assess the beneficial effects of the probiotic.
The study began in August 2018, and is expected to be completed by Q2 2020.
Consumer experience survey
He said the firm conducted a consumer study on an existing product they have, EnteroSatys.
It is a second generation probiotic based on the same strain H. alvei. It also contains zinc and chromium to help rebalance the metabolism.
The consumer study recruited 61 participants, and asked them to detail their experience after one and three months of EnteroSatys use.
The average week loss after one month was 2.2kg, and after three months, it was 5.04kg.
Although Lambert stressed, “I don’t want this product to be used solely for weight loss, but rather the ability to manage appetite.”
The study also reported 65% of subjects indicated a decrease in appetite, 56% had lesser sweet cravings, 58% snacked less, and 55% opted for smaller portions.
EnteroSatys is currently available in the French market, on its website, and pharmacies nationwide. Lambert said it is going to expand to the rest of Europe soon.